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The Shopping Bag Lady

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The Shopping Bag Lady

Published 1975

Set In Manhattan's Central Park, this film is the poignant story of a teenage girl's encounter with a homeless old woman (movingly portrayed by distinguished actress Mildred Dunnock) who carries all her belongings around in shopping bags. This encounter eventually leads to the girl's understanding of the problems of aging and the dignity of all individuals, regardless of their place in society. Actress Mildred Dunnock, who plays the homeless woman, was a former schoolteacher who didn't begin acting until in her 30's. She was twice nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, for Death of a Salesman in 1951, and for Baby Doll in 1956. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and died in 1991 at the age of 90. For more on director Bert Salzman, visit

Columbus Film Festival :”Golden Chris Award” and
“President’s Award “ for “Best Film in Festival”
Special Prize, International Year Of The Child ,American Library Association.
Notable children’s films awards: American , Birmingham , Chicago and Columbus Film Festivals.

Run time 21:00
Producer Bert Salzman
Audio/Visual sound, color


Reviewer: kbro4 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 30, 2013
Subject: memories
I first saw this in high school in 1976! So touching! Plus I looked like Emily!
Reviewer: Robert B. Livingston - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 3, 2012
Subject: Excellent short film
It is hard to imagine this sort of film being shown on television today even as more and more people go homeless.

The film tells its simple and relevant story without becoming didactic, crude or simplistic.

It made me cry.

There is another great film by Bert Salzman here at the Internet Archive: Angel And Big Joe (1975).
Reviewer: Time Travelin Mike - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 15, 2010
Subject: Another Glowing Review:
It is hard to add any more positive comments than those already posted before me, but a film this good deserves all the praise in the world. If you have any heart at all, you will be touched by it.
Reviewer: Meatpies - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 10, 2009
Subject: time well spent!
I can't imagine EVER seeing a more touching short film!

I wish kids today would sit and watch this.
Reviewer: - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 10, 2009
Subject: Just a great film...
Yes, it is true, WARNING: HAVE SOME TISSUES READY BEFORE WATCHING THIS FILM. It is so heart-touching that even I (a hard to cry guy) was cleaning some tears out of my face :=|
Reviewer: hudgeliberal - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 20, 2008
Subject: The good old days..when people actually cared.
When I see these shorts and documentaries from the early to mid 70's it reminds me of being a kid. I think being exposed to these types of films in school and on television in those years actually helped me to care about others. I think the love generation of the 60's spawned these type of films,sadly,with the "me generation" that started with Reagan and exists more than ever today,we no longer have these type of films. In turn,it seems as if no one cares for those less fortunate these days. The homeless are beaten,murdered and mistreated beyond belief these days,yet people walk by them every day without so much as an hello. We have become a very cruel and heartless world for the most part. We need to get back to the sixties and seventies attitudes. We need more social programs today than ever before,but the right wing Bush-led leadership constantly cuts funding for any program that benefits those less fortunate ones in society. The backlash to this cruelty has reached a peak and will lead to a breakdown very soon. Great film,and a previous reviewer was right..have the tissues ready.
Reviewer: ksenia1 - favoritefavorite - November 14, 2007
Subject: ??
jak to sie ściąga??
Reviewer: Sonoma Linda - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 9, 2007
Subject: Twenty minutes so well spent
It is hard to believe that The Shopping Bag Lady is 32 years old. It's message of kindness and compassion spans the years. I recommend it without reservation.
Reviewer: IAmTheRedDragon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 27, 2007
Subject: Wow
This is one of the most touching films I've ever seen, a real must-see. It's so moving to watch the teenage bully girl mature and have a change of heart, and to see how the old bag lady is presented as a real person with a real past life, who was young herself once. Highly recommended - but have some tissues handy as it may move you to tears!
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